Lest I think I’ve ever “arrived,” it takes only a moment of stress to show me how far removed I am from biblical love. My everyday moments more often resemble lovelessness rather than the definition of biblical love. Over and over again I insist on my own way as I bark out commands in haste to my kids or speak short words to my husband and leave no room for doubt that I’m irritated. “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26 ESV).

Impatience, at its core, is a love issue. The Greek word used in 1 Corinthians 13:4 for “patient”(makrothumeō) has the connotation of being slow to act against wrongdoing. Whereas the original word for kind has a meaning of responding with a mild demeanor. These are reactive words.

Love is Patient. Love is Kind.

The challenge here is not to go out and be more patient and kind. Instead, love is displayed in our response to the offenses of others. When someone intentionally wrongs me or is just incredibly annoying, my response reveals love (or hate). I don’t need to look far to find an occasion to love. I am given continual opportunities to love each and every day.

“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” (Matthew 12:34).

God loved me so I can show love. “Not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19). God extended me mercy so I can extend mercy. God is patient with me so I can be patient with others. Once again, we have our example of love in our Savior. God’s love for His people is patient. My sin—and yours—is a continual offense to a holy God. Yet, He responded to our offensive actions toward Him with love. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient (makrothumeō) toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Love is evidenced in our responses to others. All too often, when we want to make changes in our lives, we go overboard looking for new things to help us in our journey. In our efforts to be intentional, we skip right over the simplest solution. Truth is, we already know what to do. We don’t have to look far for ways to show love to others. Every moment we have with the people God has planted us next to is an opportunity to love. From the next-door neighbor we rarely speak to, to the girl at work who drives us crazy, to the friends and family closest to us. As we choose to stay near to God and keep in step with His Spirit, He will faithfully enable us to love others and bear witness to the love we ourselves have experienced.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

PRAY THIS WITH ME: God, I praise You for your extravagant love! I deserve judgment, yet You have lavished Your love on me. Jesus, thank You for taking the wrath of my sin so that I can experience the favor of my Creator. Spirit, enable me to respond with extravagant, patient, and kind love with every offense I face today.


This is an excerpt from Everyday Love — a women’s Bible study on love. This easy-to-use, four-week Bible study will help you discover how your life can bear witness to God’s purpose. In as few as 15 minutes a day, you will explore the Book of 1 Corinthians 13 and the deeper truths about God’s love for you and others. 

Join the Online Study Group!

 

Discover what the Bible has to say about love

(And learn how to study the Bible along the way!)

WHAT: Studying 1 Corinthians 13

WHEN: February 11th – March 8th, 2019 

WHERE: Bible Study Hub Facebook group

The threat of my house catching on fire is haunting. Fire can spread quickly and in unpredictable ways, bringing a great potential for destruction. Though fire can be erratic, we do know there are three things needed for a fire to burn: heat, oxygen, and fuel. In light of this, safety experts suggest keeping a fire blanket handy at home, especially for small kitchen fires. A fire blanket is a nonflammable covering used to contain a small fire from getting out of control. It’s designed to contain the fire by preventing oxygen access, thus smothering the fire into submission. The blanket provides a covering in order to suffocate the flames.

You and I have fires that pop up everyday, and they are (hopefully!) not in our kitchen. Every wrongdoing we experience is an ember, and we have an opportunity to smother it immediately or allow it to catch into a smoldering wildfire. Each insult, injury, or inconsideration encountered is a chance to cover the offender in love. When we obsess over the attacking flame on our doorstep we breathe life into it and allow it to burn bright, instead of immediately smothering the offense with love.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7)

Love covers. It quickly blows out the flame of irritability, resentment, and pride. Again and again and again. It suffers long toward every ember that tempts to take over. Love is shown in the response we make toward wrongdoing. We don’t need to go out looking for fires to put out, we each have enough to go around. Fires pop up every day, and in those moments when we begin to feel the heat, we have a choice to feed the fire or smother it into submission.

“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,” (Isaiah 61:10).

Jesus smothered our sin into submission, then He gifted us His righteousness. This act of love covered over you and me in a way we cannot fully comprehend on this side of eternity. And as we attempt to grasp the reality of Christ’s covering, let’s move toward extending a covering of love to those around us as extravagantly as Christ did for us.

PRAY THIS WITH ME: Jesus, I praise You for Your covering of grace and forgiveness. Never let me forget what You have saved me from. Help me to see the fires that need covering and enable me to douse them with love today.


This is an excerpt from Everyday Love — a women’s Bible study on love. This easy-to-use, four-week Bible study will help you discover how your life can bear witness to God’s purpose. In as few as 15 minutes a day, you will explore the Book of 1 Corinthians 13 and the deeper truths about God’s love for you and others. 

Join the Online Study Group!

 

Discover what the Bible has to say about love

(And learn how to study the Bible along the way!)

WHAT: Studying 1 Corinthians 13

WHEN: February 11th – March 8th, 2019 

WHERE: Bible Study Hub Facebook group

When I starting seeing that the Word of God is something to enjoy instead of something to do—something to achieve—that was another place in my life that really propelled me forward spiritually. 

Why is it important to study the Bible? In this video, I explain how Bible study affects every part of our life, but most importantly, our view of God.

Watch the video and catch the full transcripts over at LifeWay Voices.

Ecclesiastes summary

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode #7

We’ve been working through the Wisdom Literature this season. We’ve hit on the book of Psalms as well as Proverbs and now it’s Ecclesiastes’ turn!

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:

  • The AUTHOR, AUDIENCE, and AIM of Ecclesiastes.
  • The similarities between VH-1’s Behind the Music and the book of Ecclesiastes.
  • The main themes in the book.
  • How a meals at Denny’s and Ecclesiastes led Katie to marry Chris.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

Links below may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks!

SERMONS ON THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES:


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the end of this post or watch the Facebook Live video version.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

 

I’m back with another Ask Pastor Chris post! This is a question we both get quite a bit. 

 

Ask Pastor Chris: What is your favorite Study Bible?

Let me start by saying no one has ever paid me a dime to endorse a study Bible. I say that, because if I were reading this answer I would be suspicious that the writer’s true motivation was monetary. I assure you, that is not the case here.

Let me start by saying that I own shelves full of Bible commentaries, and I have a lot of high-dollar Bible software. Without a doubt the best bang-for-your-buck is a good study Bible. Unless you are doing scholarly writing, or spend a significant portion of your time teaching Bible, or preaching, commentaries are probably overkill for most people. A good study Bible will answer 90% of the questions you ask when you get stuck.

My favorite study Bible is the ESV Study Bible. I use it all of the time, I give them as gifts to the graduating seniors at our church, and I couldn’t recommend it more highly—it is fantastic. I have had one for years and have no hesitations in suggesting others use it too.

Another good study Bible is the CSB Study Bible. This just came out this year, so I have not used it as much as I have the ESV. However, I have noticed that many of the study notes in the CSB are the same as the ESV, verbatim. I’m sure there are many that would do just fine, but these are my go-to study Bibles for the time being.


Chris Orr holds a Master Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and currently serves as a senior pastor of Pioneer Baptist Church. Chris and Katie are former Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) staff members and parents to three children.

Follow Chris on Twitter

I (Katie) couldn’t agree more! I love my ESV Study Bible. Beyond what Chris mentioned above, I love that you also get the e-version of the ESV Study Bible notes which you can access at esv.org and the ESB Bible app. All those helpful notes right at my fingertips!

Affiliate links present. At no additional cost to you, we receive a small portion of your purchase Thanks!

Have a question for Chris?

Keep them coming! Just leave your question in the comments, or you can email me

Ready or not, Christmas is right around the corner and if you’re like me, you’re still trying to get your feet on the ground from all the back-to-school madness.

I love the holiday season for many obvious reasons, but it can also be a stressful, unsettling time. Between all the extra activities, gift shopping, and traveling to celebrate with family, my time with the Lord often falls to the wayside. If this sounds like you, you’re in good company.

Busyness may be our reality but it doesn’t have to be our excuse. I invite you to join me through my Bible study, Everyday Hope, this Christmas season. If you can carve out 15 minutes, 5 days a week, you can do this!! Simply grab a few friends to study alongside of you and maybe even text one another in the mornings to add a layer of accountability.

This is a great study to set your heart and mind on the realities of all Christ came to bring us.

To jump in, all you need is a copy of Everyday Hope and to grab a few friends.

Are you in?! Who will you be studying with?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode #5

Though you don’t need to know Greek or Hebrew to understand the Bible, having a general understanding of how to access the original language can be a helpful Bible study tool. No need to head to seminary or give in to defeat because you can’t. In this 15 minute podcast episode Chris and I share a few simple tips to begin your journey through the original languages of the Bible. 

How to get started with Greek and Hebrew

  • TIPS FROM THE SEMINARIAN (Dr. Orr): Start out with word studies
    • Pick a verb you want to study
    • Look at the semantic range – all the different ways the word can be translated
    • Look at how else the author uses this word
    • Once you are familiar with these steps and are ready for more, look in to the following:
      • voice – is this active, passive verb?
      • tense – is this word a past, present, or future, or perfect (completed) verb?
      • mood – is this a command (imperative)? an indication (indicative)?
  • TIPS FROM THE BEGINNER (Katie): Try this simple, three-step process used in the FOCUSed15 Bible studies
    • DECIDE – pick a KEY word to look up. (Don’t waste your time looking up the word “the.” Pick a word central to the verse.)
    • DISCOVER – find the original word as it was originally written
    • DEFINE – that original word
  • More tips and insight in the full episode!

RESOURCES MENTIONED:


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

“I rejoice at every effort to see the big picture of the Bible. The whole story. The narrative from creation to consummation. The clearer the whole, the clearer the parts. And the more clearly we see the parts, the more accurately we will construe the whole.”  — John Piper

There are two needed viewpoints when it comes to Bible study. The one I most often talk about and love to teach people how to use is what I liken to Disney’s A Bug’s Life movie. Seeing the world at that zoomed-in perspective allows us to see details that cannot be enjoyed at a normal vantage point.

However, there is another important perspective we can use to study I like to refer to as the “bird’s-eye-view.” If you’ve flown on a plane and enjoyed a window seat, you know a new appreciation and knowledge of a city can be gained by viewing it at that altitude. You can see the structure and order (or lack of order) in the way the roads are situated, and how the city moves along the river, mountain, and/or other prominent features.

As I get ready to approach the Psalter once again—in view of diving deeper into a select few—I want to be able to see the collection of Psalms as a whole. In general, this is a great practice to incorporate into preparation for any deep study, especially if you are not super-familiar with the big picture of that portion of Scripture. Even if it is familiar territory, there is typically more to see and enjoy on every subsequent trip through the Bible. I brainstormed several options for this bird’s-eye journey through Psalms. These can also be used for another other large portion of Scripture.

How do I study a large passage of Scripture?

Here are five ways to approach a large section of the Bible. Any one of these would be great way to get an overview of a book of the Bible. You might start with the Psalms, Acts, any of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), for a new perspective on more familiar territory, or give yourself a challenge and use this through one of the major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.), Revelation, or Old Testament Narratives (Genesis, Exodus, Ruth, Judges, etc.).

  1. Read and Underline – Grab a reading plan and a pen or Bible highlighter, and just mark anything that stands out to you.
  2. Read and Write – This is a great way to slow down and enjoy each word. If you don’t have time to write out the entire passage you plan to read, just pick out one or two verses from the day’s passage and write them out in your journal.
  3. Read and Pray – Turn the words on the page into a prayer as you read. When you come across a truth about God, praise Him for who He is. If you find a command, proclaim a resolve to follow it and invite the Holy Spirit to enable you to obey. When the author records his own prayer or godly desires, agree with it in your heart, or consider writing it out in your own words as a cry of your own soul.
  4. Read and Observe – This is a deeper option, and will take a bit more time. As you read each chapter, wear one pair of “glasses” to help you begin to observe that one topic. Choose one color of pen to represent each layer, or create a simple chart in your journal to record what you find. Here are a few great layers to look for:
    1. Character of God – Who is God? What does He do?
    2. Covenant promises – What about God and the good news of the gospel can I cling to?
    3. Commands to keep – Are there any attitudes and/or actions to adopt and/or avoid?
  5. Read and Memorize – The memorization part will most likely carry on for much longer than the period of time in takes you to read through the passage. However, memorizing key portions of a book of the Bible can really unlock the meaning of the rest of the book. For example, I memorized Romans 8 several years back and anytime I read or study parts of Romans, I tend to see the important connections to the truths expounded on in chapter 8.

Consider trying one (or all) of these out on a smaller book of the Bible first. This will give you a better idea for how long it will take you to get through a larger book, as well as let you see which is most enjoyable to you. We all learn differently. Find what works for you. Tweak it. Make it your own.

Let me know how it goes!

Have you studying an entire book at one time? If not, which would you like to? If you have studied a book like this, which one did you go through? How long did it take? What was your experience like?

One of the excuses I often hear (and have given myself!) for women not spending time in the Bible is: “I’m too busy for Bible study.” Truly, you and I know this is not quite true. We all have discretionary time—we just don’t always use that time as well as we could.

Life is a journey, and so is the road to consistent time in the Bible. One of the biggest hurdles to staying in the Bible is NOT busyness, but it IS lack of a habit. If we can develop a routine that includes Bible study—even if it is just minutes a day—we will reap the benefits of a deeper walk with Christ. Having a rhythm in our days that naturally leads us into the Word is one of the most fruitful pursuits we can spend time on. I’ve found one such fruit of establishing a Bible study habit is a greater HUNGER for more time in the Word and a deeper DESIRE for meaningful Bible study.

Here are three tips that have helped me in establishing (and keeping) a regular time for Bible reading, study, and memorization.

quiet time with God

Three tips for establishing a regular quiet time with God

  1. Find a trigger. When I have coffee, then I read my Bible. That’s my trigger. Instead of trying to make 6 AM or 11PM my hard and fast quiet time, I’ve had much more success in folding Bible study into the rhythm of my day. So whether I wake up at 7 AM or slept in until noon, my Bible study is part of my morning routine.
  2. Find a space. Once you carve out time to sit and study, it’s helpful to have everything ready and waiting in an inviting place for you to start. This will help keep you from wasting time looking for a pen or your Bible. Whether it be an armchair in your bedroom or the living room sofa, have a basket or drawer filled with all you might need to spend time with God. If you have multiple copies, consider designating one Bible for this space and another for Sunday morning sermon notes. I have a Sunday bag that has everything I need for the service, including my journal Bible which I only use for that time. This frees me up to have other resources handy on the shelf near my “quiet time” space in my home office.
  3. Find a group. This is especially helpful if you are trying to build momentum and need accountability and encouragement. The first few weeks of a new habit are always the most difficult, and groups—whether they’ve been online or in “real life”—have been just the catalyst I’ve needed to keep going after the excitement wears off on day two of my endeavor.

What has been helpful for you when establishing a routine for your quiet time with God?